Can you imagine being Moses?
You are in charge of 7 million people. God has commissioned you to be the leader, map reader, navigator, and encourager. All of the people are depending on you to chart their course and lead them in the right direction.
Now, imagine you are finishing the course of leadership that was set before you for this vast “family,” and you are preparing to pass the baton of leadership to the next generation. Recognizing and developing emerging leaders — whether in your family, business, or church — will always be a task that falls on the shoulders of the current leadership. However, you must leave the choice of successor in God’s hands. God knew when Moses had completed the task He had assigned to him. God also knew a new leader would be necessary for the next stage, and He had Joshua waiting in the wings.
At our home for children called Big Oak Ranch (bigoak. org) in Gadsden, Ala., we have arrived at this pivotal point in our ministry. Obviously, we do not have 7 million people to care for, but we do have 121 children who currently call Big Oak Ranch their home. Fifteen of our children attend various colleges across the Southeastern United States.
My two biological children, Reagan and Brodie, are preparing to take over for me and my wife. They are “all in” for providing another 40 years of leadership for this Christian home for children needing a chance. Both our children are in the midst of enacting and completing our transition plans.
With that being said, let’s look at what Jesus said about us living out this Christian life and the importance these instructions play in our passing the baton to the next generation.
Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-39, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” He made three commandments in two statements. Love God, love your neighbor, AND love yourself. There are so many of us older generation folks who still live under guilt, shame, and bitterness because we have not learned to love and forgive ourselves. Satan has us focusing on our past sins and mistakes, not on God’s plans to use us, even in our imperfect state.
Moses did not pass on his regrets or remorse for all his failures. Instead, Moses gave a future and a hope to Joshua. That attitude filtered down to all the people under Joshua’s care and leadership.
I have two questions, “What legacy do you want to leave behind, and how do you want to be remembered?” Truly great leaders always leave a future and a hope. The next generation then builds on this foundation.
Both our children are in the midst of ENACTING and COMPLETING our transition plans.
The Lord, our mates, and our families are counting on us to lead, guide, build, and then hand off the baton and give our “Joshuas” the tools to carry our families forward. Future generations will be positively or negatively impacted by how we pass this baton.
As we all move toward that baton transfer, I want to remind you of one thing: Don’t ask God to change your potential Joshua. Rather, ask Him to change you. The stronger the base, the taller the building can grow.
Notice,Moses made sure his relationship with God was strong and consistent. Moses’ confidence was based on this fact, and it seems he chose to leave the maturation of Joshua to God and Joshua.
You and I need to trust the Lord with His choice, training, maturing, and timing of the baton recipient. God told Joshua after Moses’ death, “I will be with you, just as I was with Moses. I will not leave you or forsake you” (Josh. 1:5).
Ask the Lord to give you vision beyond eyesight as you move forward with your execution of those plans.
JOHN CROYLE is a guy who found out early in life what he was put on earth to do.
This article originally appeared in the May, 2014 issue of Mature Living.